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Julio’s Albóndigas with Chipotle and Mint

8 to 10 people


  • 1/3 cup long or extra long grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 to 8 mint leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey, chicken breast or a combination of beef, veal and pork
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground, or more to taste
  • 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tablespoons white onion, roughly chopped (or a slice to your liking)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo, or to taste
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo, seeded, optional
  • 2 tablespoons safflower, corn or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt, or to taste

To Prepare

  • In a small sauce pan place the rice and cover with 2 cups hot water. Simmer over medium high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until rice is cooked al dente but not mushy. Drain and let cool.
  • In a molcajete, mash the mint leaves and 2 garlic cloves with the tejolote until pureed. Alternatively you can use a mortar and pestle or you can simply mince them together.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat of your choice, the raw eggs, the cooled and drained rice, the mashed or minced garlic cloves with the mint, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper. Mix thoroughly, with your hands or spatula.
  • In a pot, place the tomatoes and cover with water. Simmer over medium high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until cooked through and mushy. Add the cooked tomatoes along with 1/4 cup of their cooking liquid, 2 garlic cloves, white onion, the sauce from the chipotles in adobo and if desired the chile chipotle in adobo in the blender and puree until smooth.
  • Pour 2 tablespoons of oil to a large deep pot and place over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, incorporate the pureed tomato mix. Let it simmer anywhere from 6 to 8 minutes, or until it has changed its color to a deeper red, thickened in consistency and lost its raw flavor. Add chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and reduce heat to medium low.
  • Along the side of the pot with the simmering tomato broth, place a small mixing bowl with about a cup of water as well as the mixing bowl with the albóndiga mix. Start to make the albondigas, one by one, anywhere from 1 to 2" in width and place them gently in the simmering liquid. Wet your hands in the water before you start and after you make a couple of albóndigas so they are easier to shape and the the mix doesn't stick to your hands.
  • Once you have shaped all the albóndigas, cover the pot and let them simmer over medium low heat for 20 minutes. If you want the tomato broth to thicken a bit more, uncover the pot and let it simmer for 5 to 8 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with a side of freshly sliced avocado, some warm corn tortillas and if desired, frijoles de olla, or cooked beans.